Call for Participants

Paul Dean, a first-gen college graduate from a blue-collar family and working-class town in western New York State and an Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Justice at Ohio Wesleyan University, is conducting a research study approved by Ohio Wesleyan University’s Institutional Review Board (protocol #1807.005).

Lifting While You Rise: First-Gen Graduates Giving Back

I am seeking participants for a research study on first-generation college graduates (i.e. people who were the first members of their family to attend and graduate from college). Specifically, I am interviewing first-generation college graduates who are from working class backgrounds and now work in professional/white collar occupations that serve working class or poor communities in some way. I am especially interested to speak with first-gen grads from a variety of backgrounds (e.g. race, gender, sexuality, national origin, etc) and occupations. From social workers to community organizers; from artists to policy analysts addressing poverty; from engineers working on infrastructure projects in poor communities to doctors and nurses working in low-income neighborhoods, I want to learn from and share your stories!

The interviews are for a book project showing how first-gen graduates have climbed the class ladder while lifting up people around them in a wide range of occupations. I am interested in learning what you value about your working class roots, how you made it through college and into the professional world, how your roots have functioned both as a hurdle and an asset along the way, how your background shapes your professional work and middle class life, how it relates to other parts of your experience and identity, and more about your journey.

If you are interested in participating or if you have questions about this study, please email me at

Multiple Positions Announcement ~ CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies (SLU)

Below is a message from Rose Imperato, Special Projects Coordinator at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies (SLU):

The new CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies (SLU) announces five faculty positions: three full-time, tenure-track positions; an annually-appointed Distinguished Lecturer in Urban Studies limited to a maximum employment of one year; and an annually-appointed Distinguished Lecturer in Labor Studies limited to a maximum period of employment of seven years. All will take effect at the beginning of the Fall 2019 or January 2020 semester.

Professor of Urban Economics or Urban Demography; Professor of Urban Policy or Public Administration; Professor of Labor Studies

These are open rank tenure-track positions based on qualifications and experience:  junior level (Assistant Professor) and senior level (Associate or Full Professor).  These full-time faculty perform teaching and research duties, and also share responsibility for committee and department assignments including administrative, supervisory and other functions.

Qualifications include a Ph.D. in the area of experience or equivalent, significant scholarship and research, and the demonstrated ability to teach successfully.  Preference will be given to candidates with experience teaching non-traditional and adult students.

Here are the links to the complete job descriptions and online application:

Open Rank Professor – Urban Policy or Public Administration

Open Rank Professor – Urban Economics or Urban Demography

Open Rank Professor – Labor Studies


Distinguished Lecturer of Urban Studies; Distinguished Lecturer of Labor Studies

Distinguished Lecturer appointments are intended to bring students into contact with a variety of well-respected leaders in their fields with a wide range of experiences and skills, both intellectual and applied.  Practitioners with a demonstrated commitment to public service and social justice may be drawn from a range of public service institutions, including local and state government, city and state agencies, labor unions, and non-profit organizations, and may include current of former elected officials, government administrators, labor leaders, and social justice activists.

Distinguished Lecturers are required to teach two courses per semester, work with the department to develop curricular initiatives and public programs, and offer support for SLU initiatives. These are full-time, non-tenure track positions with one-year appointments. The Labor Studies position is subject to annual reappointment for a maximum of seven years.  A Bachelor’s degree and an outstanding record of achievement in a profession or field of expertise related to Urban Studies or Labor Studies are required.

Here are links to the complete job descriptions and application:

Distinguished Lecturer – Urban Studies

Distinguished Lecturer – Labor Studies

President’s Report – Spring 2019

Dear fellow members of the WCSA,

It’s been somewhat of a strange turn towards spring without a WCSA conference being immediately on the horizon, and it’s been a tenure of change for me as the WCSA president as the organization plans to host our first conference outside the US this Fall. This move is probably long overdue, as international participants have thankfully found their way to us forever, some of them making rather long and inconvenient journeys year after year—and we are the better for it. Now it’s our turn to return the favor, and I hope to see as many of you as possible at the University of Kent in September. Planning is well underway, and we have nominations in all of our award categories. It looks to be an amazing conference, and I hope to see as many of you there as possible.  Registration for the conference is now open; please see the conference website for details.

I understand the financial and time issues involved, and as I’ve noted, our colleagues from other countries have been overcoming these issues and making their way to us in the US for a long time. This seems a convenient time to highlight the importance of our travel grants and fledgling scholar initiatives. We have for years attempted to support the travel and involvement of participants with financial need—and after participating with this both as the Treasurer of the WCSA and as a member of the award committee, I can tell you it’s never enough. We have far too often had people decide they couldn’t attend the conference because of financial concerns, which has led to their disappointment and our loss of their voices at our conference.

We can, of course, do more in this department IF we have more money at our disposal. In my last President’s letter, I encouraged you to draw as many colleagues, contacts, and interested acquaintances into the organization as possible as members. Now, I’ll add to that a request for fundraising efforts so as many people as possible can attend the annual conference. We have a fundraising letter drafted and ready to go. If you are part of an organization which might donate to increase our pool of travel funds, please let me know. As the chair of the Outreach committee, I’d love to do more in this regard, but I only know so many people and only have so many contacts—admittedly, as a community college professor my “reach” is fairly small. Together, though, we can do far more. If your union, your employer, an organization to which you belong, or other personal contact you might have would possibly be interested in donating to the WCSA travel/award fund, please let me know. If you pass along contact information, I’ll make sure we reach out as an organization and do my part to grow what we’re able to offer people who would like to attend our conference and are being held back by financial concerns.

We will need to make some minor changes to the WCSA Constitution to accommodate moving our annual conference and business meeting to the Fall this year (and to accommodate similar shifts in the future when needed). The Steering Committee has already voted on the changes, but Constitutional changes need to be voted on by the membership. This would normally occur at our annual business meeting—but because of the timing of the changes, the vote needs to take place before that business meeting. I’ll be sending out the changes to the membership, and we’ll set up an online vote, so watch for an email in the near future.

Our annual business meeting this year will take place online (see, I told you, a year of change). I’ll be sending information about that in the near future as well, and I invite you, if you have items you’d like to include on the agenda, to let me know.

I was thinking that it had been a relatively slow year, but now that I think about it, maybe “quiet” is a better word….

See you on the web soon, and hope to see you in the UK in September!

Cherie Rankin, WCSA President

Book Notes ~ Spring 2019

Please take a look at recently published books related to the field of working-class studies.  Full descriptions for each are available here.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.